Source: Instagram

Several Canadian politicians have spoken out about the radical anti-Israel encampments occupying the country’s university campuses.

Encampments have been set up at several post-secondary institutions, including McGill University, the University of Toronto, the University of Ottawa, the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria. Student activists want their respective schools to “divest” from companies with ties to Israel. 

The protests are inspired by similar protests by far-left students at Ivy League colleges in the United States like Columbia. Both Canadian and American campuses have been home to chaotic and antisemitic scenes, as well as hateful messages.

True North has compiled a list of prominent politicians who have commented on the encampments.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford:

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Premier denounced the encampments, and called for universities to act and remove protesters. 

“We need to remove those people … these universities have to make a move,” said Ford. He said events have occurred on the encampments that he deems “disturbing” and “unacceptable.”

“I can’t stand some of the nasty stuff I’ve been seeing out there,” Ford noted.

“The hatred I have seen at these protests. I’ve never seen before in my entire 60 years, not quite, 59 years, of living here in Toronto.” 

The premier also said that those who have a hateful ideology should not move to Ontario. “You want to be here in Ontario, you live in peace and love,” he said. “You don’t come to Ontario, no matter what culture you are, and stir things up. It’s as simple as that.”

Quebec Premier Francois Legault:

Source: Facebook

Quebec Premier Francois Legault denounced the encampments last week, calling them illegal and asking police to clear them out. As of Tuesday, the encampment at McGill remains in place. 

“There are all kinds of very legal ways to demonstrate,” but “to set up an encampment on the grounds of a university that doesn’t want that encampment, that’s illegal,” said Legault.

He added that he “counts on the police to dismantle in the way they think is best, and then at the time they think is best.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently addressed the encampments during a media event. He said that post-secondary institutions are places of learning and that “we have to trust” universities to deal with the encampments and to ensure that “everyone is safe.”

“I think we have to remember what universities are. Universities are places of learning,” said Trudeau. “Universities are places where freedom of speech, the freedom of ideas, the challenge of debate, of dialogue, of discussion about how to shape the world, how to see the world … are a core part of what campuses are all about.”

“At the same time, we need to make sure that as part of that everyone can feel safe on campus, whether you’re a Jewish student, whether you’re Palestinian, whether you have strong feelings on one side or the other,” he added. “And, on that we have to trust both universities to manage their campuses right, and local police of jurisdiction to do their work to make sure that everyone is safe.”

Trudeau had also previously denounced the targeting of Jewish students on campuses. 

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre:

In a statement to True North, Pierre Poilievre spokesperson Sebastian Skamski said he and the Conservatives denounce the “glorification of terrorism and antisemitism” on campuses and said students deserve to feel safe.

“Common sense Conservatives denounce unequivocally the glorification of terrorism and antisemitism in our streets and on our campuses,” said Skamski, who went on to describe Hamas as “a terrorist death cult bent on destroying the Jewish people, using Palestinian citizens as human shields.”

Canadians have a right to demonstrate in this country peacefully and lawfully. It is not a right to harass, intimidate, or restrict access to students and faculty at our universities. The law must be enforced when laws are broken,” Skamski added. 

“Canadians deserve to feel safe in their communities and on their campuses.”

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh:

Jagmeet Singh spoke out in favour of the encampments, calling the protesters “anti-war advocates” and denouncing the removal of encampments on American campuses.

“I stand in solidarity with students and anti-war advocates,” said Singh on X (formerly Twitter). “What is happening in the US right now is very dangerous and alarming.”

“In Canada, I want students to know this. It is your right to peacefully protest, and I will defend that,” he added. “New Democrats will continue to stand for peace and justice, for protection of your Charter rights and for ensuring every student feels safe and welcome on campus.”

Liberal MP Anthony Housefather:

Source: Facebook

Prominent Jewish Liberal MP Anthony Housefather has denounced the radical encampments on numerous occasions.

“Encampments are a violation of university policy,” wrote Housefather in a Apr. 27 X (formerly Twitter) post. “I call upon university administrators, police (and if needed provincial governments) to act. We can’t allow what is happening in the US to happen here.”

Regarding the McGill encampment, Housefather also said he is “hopeful the skillful (Montreal) police will work with the administration to resolve the situation ensuring everyone’s security and well being.”

British Columbia Post-Secondary Education Minister Lisa Beare:

Source: Facebook

The NDP minister in charge of BC universities commented on the encampments that have occupied the provinces’ universities, noting that she expects schools to find a “balance” between letting students protest and ensuring students feel safe. 

“Universities, colleges and institutes across the province do have the policies in place to allow for a peaceful protest, while also ensuring everyone on campus is safe and I expect all the institutes to find that balance,” Lisa Beare said.